The day before we left for the big trip we spent buying groceries, packing, and relaxing. We spent some time at the high school’s fields behind my house playing soccer and football and baseball, and that night we went to a bar with my aunt to play some trivia.
The next morning we stopped before leaving Seattle to get lunch at Dick’s Drive-In, Seattle’s favorite burger place. Sir Mix-A-Lot has rapped about Dick’s and Macklemore did a video in one. It’s Seattle’s answer to In-N-Out and it’s delicious. The boys loved it, and James in particular was a huge fan.
We lucked out with little traffic on the way down to Oregon and made good time. We spent that night at Mahar Park, which is a piece of property in Vernonia, Oregon that was originally bought by my great great grandfather for logging purposes. However, he decided it was too beautiful to cut down so he gave it to his children. To this day the property is jointly owned by all his descendants and little has changed. We use it as a private campground and every year we have a giant reunion there, which usually has a turnout of just over 100 people.
Mahar Park is mostly forest, with a small lake/bog and access to a river we can swim in. There are a lot of good memories in that place and it means a lot to me and my family. We are incredibly lucky to have it. I gave the boys a tour when we got there and took them on a walk around the lake.
After we set up camp we got a fire going, broke out the hot dogs, and cracked open a few beers. We also took out some cards and played a few games of blackjack. I taught the boys how to make s’mores, which surprisingly aren’t a thing in the U.K.. They enjoyed the sweet, sticky treats and I told them they hadn’t truly been camping until they made s’mores. Now they’re pros.
James was exhausted and went to bed early, while Sean and I stayed out and played some more cards. Then we watched a movie he had downloaded on his computer, which was probably the first time I had ever watched a movie while camping.
The next morning we explored the park a bit more before packing up and heading out. We stopped over by the old Vernonia mill for some photos before making the drive to Portland. The mill is the old ruins of a logging building which is now covered in graffiti and has trees growing in the middle. Green Day recently used it in their music video for the song Still Breathing.
After getting some artsy pics we walked around the nearby lake and then headed for Portland.
Want more? Read about our next set of adventures in Portland!